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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Mobile phone security to gain momentum during next five years.

16 April, 2008
With predictions of over 800 million users of banking services accessed through mobile phones by the beginning of the next decade, security measures are likely to gain focus.
Financial services security technology is constantly being improved and is already set to accept the next generation of mobile transactions. Such transactions will include the use of RFID and near field communications to enable mobile phones to be used with point of sale terminals to perform financial transactions.

Although much of this security is telephone independent with encryption being built into the tag and at the terminal, the loss of such a phone would present a significant problem to the owner. Already, people are seeing increased dependence on mobile phones, containing address books, messages, photographs, MP3 downloads, e-mail and many other items that would cause a lot of lost time and problems if lost or stolen. With an additional dependence in terms of financial transaction capability, the consequences of loss become even more pronounced.

Preventing such problems comes from a number of sources with some local authorities and service providers in the UK offering blocking, registration and tracking services, the existence of which makes such phones less attractive.

Access to sensitive data can also be prevented using a variety of technologies including password vaults, biometric access control and encryption. A number of companies are now offering security technology for high end phones including SymbianGuru, who offers a range of utilities and security products including Phone Wallet, which is a password vault for keeping PIN numbers, passwords and other sensitive information, BT Guard for preventing unauthorised interception of Bluetooth transmissions and Phone Guardian, which locks the phone on receipt of a password controlled text message and emits an alarm. With no possibility of unloading the software, activating an alternative SIM card or unblocking the phone, the thief is left with 100 grammes of plastic and metal. Furthermore, with the additional tracking function built into the software, the phone can be subsequently located and recovered.

With mobile phones continuing to be stolen or left in taxis and cafes at an astonishing rate, there is going to be a considerable market for such protective technology as the phone becomes a link into so many important aspects of our daily lives.
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